Congress leader Rahul Gandhi
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi
(PTI Photo)

A top official of the University of Mumbai was on Tuesday shunted on "forced leave" for making derogatory remarks on women and Congress leader Rahul Gandhi following a two-day long agitation.

Yogesh Soman, the Director, Academy of Theatre Arts (ATA) in the varsity, had allegedly made objectionable remarks against Gandhi and women on social media recently, the varsity's Chhatra Bharti unit President Shridhar Pednekar said.

"Students of ATA also harassed by him had to resort to a sit-in agitation at the Kalina Campus since January 13, along with Chhatra Bharti and All India Students Federation, Disha Vidyarthi Sanghatana and other activists," Pednekar said.

Finally, with the intervention of legislator Kapil Patil, the University Secretary on Tuesday issued a letter stating that Soman had been sent on a "forced leave", after which the students called off their strike.

The students spent a night of peaceful agitation, sitting in the campus, singing patriotic songs, raising slogans and clapping. Prominent among them Apurva Ingale, Amir Kazi, Sagar Bhalerao, Amrin Mogar, Sahin Bansod, Rohit Dhale and Baban Thoke.

At least twice, the university authorities asked the students to withdraw their sit-in protests, but they refused and later even Patil joined them.

The legislator urged the varsity administration to take immediate action against Soman and also redress the students' grievances.

The university authorities said that after sending Soman on "forced leave", a fact-finding committee will enquire into the students complaints before taking further measures.

A letter to the effect was issued by University Secretary Ajay Deshmukh, which was shown to the students who called off their protests.

Among others, the students complained that since six months, there were no teachers appointed to teach them, a particular line of ideology was being imposed on the students, and Soman allegedly indulged in mismanagement which even the temporary teachers in ATA have resented.

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